Taking Stock of Contemporary Journalism Education: The End of the Classroom as We Know It
Guy Berger and Joe Foote
worldwide, a wide variety of non-academic training organi zations are joining “traditional” journalism schools based within higher learning institutions to supply journalismeducation. This, among other reasons, is cause for the “traditional” providers to re-think their context, community, and role. This chapter describes key developments in new education efforts (a broad concept that in this chapter generally includes “training” efforts) over the past 20 years. The emerging scenario is one in which the supply of journalism education is becoming distributed across a range of providers globally. Moreover, there is a greater specialization of services as well as a trend toward the internationalization of many programs and learners.
Journalism education at the university level has never been the “last stop” for professional education. Although in much of the world university-level journalism education continues to constitute the largest provider of journalism education, especially at the entry-level. At the same time, the question of who provides journalism education and who is a journalism teacher continues to change. For example, in 2006 the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) search for “potential centers of excellence” in African journalism education resulted in a list of finalists including not only journalism schools based at universities, but also several based at ocational and technical-training colleges that are involved primarily in vocational training. In addition, one finalist was a commercial business and another, now defunct, was a non-government organization (NGO) with a core focus on training (Berger, 2007).
Such changes illustrate what Deuze (2008, p. 270) has called a global move toward a system of journalism education provided more by universities and stand-alone institutes than either self-education or purely on-the-job training. The current increase in university-based programs also exists within systems that are increasingly transcending national boundaries. And when one includes the providers of online courses, this profile becomes even more diverse. As journalism education clients learn and experiment with changing forms of journalism , they are increasingly being served by an array of providers and dispersed opportunities.
Developments are moving beyond scholar Jan Servaes’ call for journalism education to “break out of its national carcass and ‘internationalise’” (2009, p. 530). UNESCO’s model curriculum (adapted in
more than 60 countries and available in nine languages) is an indicator of the widening globalization of journalism education (UNESCO, 2007, 2013). A key question that merits further study and arises from these developments concerns the models of journalism education that are internationalizing, the cultural and language issues involved, and the evolution of courses that deal explicitly with globalization and journalism (Josephi, 2010; Bromley, 2009; Holm, 2002).
For the first half of the 20th century, journalism education and training worldwide was largely confined to on-the-job learning, often in an apprenticeship style. But as mass communications grew as an industry in the second part of the century, so did the need for hiring more people and requiring more high-end skills for this industry.
Public institutions of higher education evolved to meet this need. Many countries accordingly introduced diploma and degree programs preparing entry-level practitioners for the job market. While this was partially a response to media industry demands to supply graduates ready for a career in industry, such programs also suited universities’ institutional ambitions to swell student numbers in an area of high visibility with career-promising courses that attracted additional enrollments.
By 1950, formal journalism education at the university level was widely accepted in the United States. It did not spread widely in Europe until the privatization of media in Western Europe and the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. But it has flourished since then—both in the number of programs and the number of women enrolled in them (Nordenstreng, 2009). In the 1980s, the Asian media boom and its corresponding increase in private media created an increased demand for formal journalism education in many countries in the region. In the 1990s, there was considerable journalism education growth in higher education institutions in the Middle East and Africa. And by 2000 , university-level journalism education courses were nearly universal (Hume, 2007). In China and India, journalism education programs continue to proliferate at a mind-numbing rate. The World Journalism Education Council’s worldwide journalism education census has registered nearly 3,000 global programs on its database. By 2007, the bulk of these programs were spread fairly evenly between North America,
Europe, and Asia (World Journalism Education Congress, 2007). In areas in which university-level education was slow to gain traction, some media organizations set up autonomous “journalism schools,” mimicking some features of those within higher education. The United Kingdom, Germany, and Denmark have media organizations that follow this model.
This explosive growth of global journalism education has also attracted private sector involvement. In many regions worldwide, and especially in developing countries, commercial entities have entered the
fray. However, this emerging type of journalism education has sometimes been susceptible to riticism based on quality issues and the possible exploitation of students.
At the same time, the foundation laid in the late 1900s persists in that most countries’ journalism education systems appear to be grounded in established universities, and to a lesser extent technical
colleges, registered by their national educational departments. In this model, journalism schools are anchored within a wider academic institutional framework.
Over time, the resulting “pipeline” of university journalism graduates has affected the media. For example, in the early 1990s, an estimated 71% of journalists in the United States had some tertiary-level media education (Medsger, 1996, p. 7). Their education often either replaced or complemented in-house or on-the-job training practices.
At the same time, industry has frequently criticized not only these graduates’ skills, but also the value of university journalism education at large.
Still, many university programs have established close ties with professional news organizations. Internships have developed as a key experiential learning component in curricula, which often favor professional skills. Industry professionals visit classrooms, and some teach as adjuncts. Because the media sector is known for its low investment in training, university-sponsored programs have ultimately been a blessing for media operations by increasingly supplying their labor needs.
In much of Latin America, higher education qualifications in journalism used to be regulatory pre- requisites for working in the media (International Federation of Journalists, 2010). This was in part due to union support, which had an inherent interest in limiting labor-market competition for media positions. But such requirements are no longer practiced due to the decline of unions in Latin America (as has been the case worldwide) and influential international opinions that position against any compulsory membership or qualifications to practice as a journalist (ARTICLE 19, 2012).
However, even with massive enrollment and output in university journalism education programs worldwide, there continues to be a significant number of journalists who have not taken these or other
foundational programs. However, these same journalists often become interested in academic and other courses when it comes to updating their skills, or learning new ones, in areas such as investigative journalism, data-based journalism, enhanced newsroom technology, and digital security. This need has helped feed a market for “further” or “continuing” education. For example, some universities have targeted certain specialized programs toward working journalists, thereby
expanding their scope of activity.
Simultaneously, industry associations, a number of individual media companies, and NGOs have also responded to mid-career training needs by elevating and formalizing ad hoc or casual training initiatives and creating institutional academies for both continuing and new employees. Thus, some in the media industry have relied on wellfunded internal programs to help train their journalists. Examples include Germany’s Springer Group, the U.K.’s British Broadcast Corporation (BBC), All-India Radio, and China Television. In 2013, the three major print media companies in South Africa were all operating dedicated training programs, mainly aimed at filling gaps between tertiary education and the newsroom and providing higher-level education to existing employees. In 2014, however, one of these print companies, Independent Newspapers, shuttered its program. Examples
of independent providers, linked to industry rather than universities, include the U.S.’ American Press Institute and Poynter Institute and South Africa’s Institute for the Advancement of Journalism. In addition, the African Woman and Child Feature Service (www.awcfs.org) , a Kenyan-based NGO, provides short courses and training material for journalism students and working journalists in East Africa. Subjects covered include the reporting of parliament, economics, climate change, gender, HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, children and development issues, and newsroom management.
UNESCO has responded to the need for short specialist course modules with publishing a series
titled A Compendium of New Syllabi (2013, 2015), covering topics such as global journalism, gender and journalism, media viability, reporting human trafficking, and reporting sustainable development.
The very developments that call for upgrading the knowledge and skill levels of working journalists have also put pressure on entry-level journalists. Ten years ago, it was not essential for journalism students to know much about entrepreneurship, intellectual property, managing social networks, curating content, or digital security. And although it has become important for students to learn about such topics, many higher education sector journalism schools do not have the curricular flexibility to teach them in depth. On the other hand, several U.S. journalism programs have taken a step beyond the traditional use of books to teach such content by using software-learning exercises offered by
online companies like Lynda.com and w3schools.com.
Furthermore, there has been the development of instruction linked to the rise of what may be called the “development aid industry.” This “industry” evolved during the Cold War era and intensified with
Western attempts to foster democratic capitalist systems in place of the failed political systems in Eastern Europe, Africa, and elsewhere. As a result, a sub-industry of short-course providers emerged to supply training to mainly working journalists (along with the promise of equipment, capital, and support for legal reform) (Hume, 2004; Nelson, 2010). Numerous cases of cross-border journalism education also occurred.
For example, students from emerging democracies were funded to study in the United States, while “parachute professors” have historically often deployed to work abroad (Ognianova, 1995). In addition, British providers, including the Thomson Foundation and the Reuters Foundation (merged in 2008 into the Thomson Reuters Foundation), were prominent exporters of journalism education. American provider counterparts included Internews and the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX). Large foundations, such as the Sorosfunded “Open Society” institutes, supported journalism education and training activities in many countries. German foundations, such as the
Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and Inwent, provided journalism education to thousands of people in, or from, developing countries. In many world regions, major broadcasters have also set up facilities, such as the Radio Netherlands Training Foundation, which provide, among other things, a range of courses to an international constituency. The German international broadcaster’s Deutsche Welle Akademie provides extensive training as part of its general media development work.
In addition, some NGOs are providing a range of specialty courses usually relating to their particular causes, such as AIDS prevention, conflict resolution (for example the NGO “Search for Common Ground”), and transparent and fair elections. The World Bank Institute also provides courses in reporting on finances and corruption.
In the wider landscape of multiple providers of journalism education, institutions, such as the U.S.-based,nonprofit Poynter Institute, have included university faculty as clients in the hopes of updating and/ or improving journalism education within the academy. Partnerships between industry and universities are also beginning to appear. For example, the Deutsche Welle German broadcasting system has partnered with the University of Dortmund, the University of Bonn, and the Bonn RheinSieg University of Applied Sciences in innovative master’s degree programs. In 2010, The New York Times, as a part of its new business model, partnered for a short time with Ball State University to sell certified online journalism education services.
And in Australia, one public broadcaster asked university journalism schools to produce online editorial training modules for its internal use (Chadwick, 2009).
Online options in journalism education have helped make the increasingly crowded online field more universally accessible. The rise of the Internet has created a platform in which journalism education
can be provided almost seamlessly across borders. The International Center for Journalists’ website (www.anywhere.icfj.org) says it provides instructors who can teach journalism classes in local languages and that the site will translate comments among different-language speakers. For its part, the U.K.-based Commonwealth Broadcast Association, serving former British colonies, has set up a “Media Trust” that provides online courses in media leadership and management. And CNN announced an online learning opportunity for university students in September 2010.
And after operating in-person journalism training programs at its headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida, for more than 30 years, the Poynter Institute established, in 2005, an online “university,” News University. News University now offers more than 400 online short courses for journalists and journalism students and has more than 390,000 users (www.newsu.org/about). It also provides programs ranging from sequenced courses to one-time webinars, which are available to anyone anywhere as long as they (students, bloggers, working journalists, etc.) have an Internet connection, and, in some cases, a few dollars to spare. In 2009, the Poynter Institute demonstrated a strong interest in taking its free offerings global, and in 2010 its News University announced it would serve as a clearing house for journalism education-related global curriculum exchanges.
In 2011, UNESCO began to roll out a platform of “Open Educational Resources” based on adaptations of its model curriculum (www.unesco/webworld/en/oer). And in 2005, when a British controversy led to the resignation of the BBC’s top leadership, the organization created a BBC academy and put considerable resources into it.
In 2009, after four years of developing training material for in-house use, the BBC decided to make many of these materials available to the public through a third-party online vendor and Oxford University Press. Such material was “delivered” through paid online access at the BBC College of Journalism (http://bbcjournalism.oup.com). Yet in July 2014, the BBC College of Journalism suspended its paywall for a year and announced that it was making hundreds of training modules available free online. Perhaps the paid subscription model for educational materials was not as robust as the BBC originally thought (Looney, 2014). Its video and print resources, already available in 11 languages, are being translated into some 16 more to supply all 27 languages in which the BBC World Service broadcasts (Looney, 2014).
Many journalism teachers around the world are also making their course outlines and resources freely available online. One of the most prominent of such figures is Rosental Alves and his Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas based at the University of Texas, Austin.
His service provides thousands of Spanish-language online courses in journalism, and his pioneering use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for mass delivery of journalism programs has proven to be especially effective. Other well-known journalism education offerings include information provided by Alves’ colleague, American journalist/journalism educator Mindy McAdams (http://mindymcadams.com/), the U.S.-based Association for Education in Journalism and Mass
Communication (AEJMC, www.aejmc.org), and J Source, the Canadian Journalism Project (www.J-Source.ca). Even YouTube has a channel called “Reporters’ Center” (youtube.com/reporterscenter), which hosts video tutorials on subjects such as investigative journalism, citizen journalism, journalism ethics, and how to conduct an interview. In addition, there are countless websites emanating from a wide range of sources worldwide that offer journalism instruction in various forms and/or engage in sharing knowledge—through debate, discussion, or demonstration—about the “hows” and “whys” of practicing journalism today.
Another emerging player in the journalism education online marketplace is iTunesU, sponsored by Apple. iTunesU is a free repository that encourages university faculty in a variety of fields to share their courses and tutorials online. Initially, iTunesU had few offerings in journalism and mass communication, but as of 2015 several courses have been added.
Beginning in 2012, several companies (e.g., Coursera, Udacity, edX) were formed to offer MOOCs to global audiences. Most of these courses are free, but some are proprietary and can be taken for university credit. The presence of journalism and mass communication courses will most likely follow the surge in courses in computer science and business.
In short, the range of actors providing journalism education continues to greatly expand over time, and the relationships among different constituents continue to evolve. In addition, transnational cyberspace initiatives continue to increase. This new reality has a bearing on the value of a traditional academic journalism education, the former bastion of supply, as well as on the range of media practitioners’ opportunities for empowerment.
All these developments in journalism education and media training have exponentially expanded choice across universities and providers. Besides the formal courses offered, today’s range of informal and indirect educational opportunities in journalism is vast.
One result of such developments has been an accelerated blurring between journalism training and journalism education (the “hows,” “whats,” and “whys”). Another has been an evolution of mutual respect between media professionals and educators. For example, formerly in the United States the distrust between practitioners and academics was palpable. However, the last two decades have seen a virtual love fest between the two. One reason that the Poynter Institute has been so successful in the United States is this relatively new, strong sense of interdependence between professionals and educators that allows the two to be blended easily into the Institute’s training offerings. Its staff seem to recognize the value of time spent with academics as much as they do with journalists. Yet, tensions still exist. A vigorous debate has occurred over how extensively a “teaching hospital” model should be applied to journalism education. Several prominent American foundations involved in journalism education have advocated the hiring of more professionals, regardless of academic credentials. While most American universities have adhered to this approach, several academics have criticized extensive use of it.
In much of the developing world, journalism professionals’ lack of respect for university journalism education remains a formidable challenge and impedes a closer relationship between professionals and the academy. Only when these barriers begin to crumble in more countries will increased connections among professionals, universities, and other training organizations blossom. In addition, in many developing countries, university-educated graduates are able to command higher salaries in communications work outside of news media organizations.
Such higher salaries contribute to a relative disconnect between academy and industry in many developing countries. In recent years, universities have felt a need to nurture connections among themselves. In 2002, a group of communication associations interested in journalism education began planning for a World Journalism Education Congress to be held in Singapore in 2007. This first meeting, and related conference, emphasized the commonality of issues facing university programs in this burgeoning field. The momentum gained from this meeting attracted 28 member organizations, which became known as the World Journalism Education Council (wjec.net) (Foote, 2008). During its formative days, the Council’s member organizations decided to exclude training institutions, focusing only on problems/issues confronting university-level programs specializing in journalism education (Berger, 2010). Now that this informal group has defined itself as a coalition of specialized academic organizations, it is much more comfortable interacting with organizations devoted exclusively to journalism training. When the second WJEC convened in South Africa in 2010 (wjec.ru.ac.za), the relationship between the two types of providers received considerable discussion.
While training groups and university institutions continue to sort out their relationships, the proliferation of new players continues. In part this reflects the widening universe of actors who generate journalism outside of formal news media, and particularly those using social media platforms for text, audio-visual, graphic journalism, etc.
The knowledge and skills to publish or broadcast online are necessary, but not sufficient, to do journalistic work online. But the relationship between the two domains of knowledge and skill has opened up a hybrid of capacity building that emulates aspects of journalism education and training. There are today innumerable tutorials on the Internet offering a range of learning outcomes that are relevant to practicing journalism (as well as other forms of communication). The upshot of all this is that journalism education’s crowded marketplace is now demonstrating the need for traditional university-based journalism education suppliers to specialize in order to differentiate themselves better and remain competitive.
Overall, both online and off-line forms of dedicated, and often formal, journalism education have thrived. Journalism education has become one of the fastest growing academic fields in the world, even though enrollments often outnumber job opportunities within the formal media sector. As a partial result, most university journalism programs are over-enrolled. However, the proliferation of private media in the fastest-growing economies, combined with growing “internetization,” is also presenting vast new job and, therefore, educational opportunities. Although the crisis facing newspapers in many developed economies has created a different set of challenges and possibilities,
the thirst for structured journalism education seems undaunted—even when journalism education itself needs to be reimagined.
The traditional and newer suppliers of journalism education are not only competitors, but also potential allies. Some of these partnerships have been noted above. There seems to be a common interest among providers to promote journalism education in general and to build upon shared public domain knowledge to enhance what is offered. However, much university-based journalism education risks being out-flanked by providers in areas such as distance learning and in the creation of high-end multimedia instruction modules that transcend national and public/private boundaries.
Implications and Future Directions
Because media industries have been changing so rapidly, it is imperative that all journalism education organizations become especially nimble. Journalism education at universities has been under considerable pressure to change and update itself, especially in the area of converged media. This reality presents a good opportunity to assess the unique value that institutions in higher education bring to the cause of better-educated, empowered journalists. Higher education assets that are not easily replaceable include experience in the business side of education, the accreditation of systems, and the generation of research.
Universities are particularly good at setting standards, providing consistency and continuity, presenting conceptual frameworks, and exposing students to broader academic studies.
University research requirements ensure the continuous examination of a broad range of topics in ways that the media industry and many NGOs do not. However, higher education can be painfully
slow to change, and it often takes stray paths and finds itself at dead ends. That said, its competitive edge lies in its knowledge-based focus , which helps update important ideas and skills. Even university-based journalism educators who are not also journalism researchers have unique access to resources of scholarly colleagues engaged in the study of journalism and the changing global communications environment.
Journalism educators can also draw upon research skills and activities from like-minded academics in cognate disciplines within their broader institutions. In addition, in theory at least, university-based journalism education practitioners are less likely to be vulnerable to “silo-ization” than journalism training providers based outside of higher education.
This is due to university collegiate activities, such as research conferences and peer review practices, that can stir the intellectual pot. The significance of this aspect of universities as institutions has been highlighted recently by research stressing the need for journalism education programs to acknowledge the role of dominant ideologies, such as those based on class, race, gender, and nationality. Such ideologies work to benefit the status quo by leaning professional practice of journalism in favor of power, such as in coverage of international conflicts or economic policies (Jensen, 2014; Patterson, 2014).
Another key university-level journalism school advantage is the ability to experiment journalistically without enormous investments. Journalism school programs, which primarily exist to educate rather
than to produce media, are often more concerned with creativity and generating knowledge than financial risk. When journalism schools do generate media products—even when they make a profit and/or serve the public—they usually state their motives as educational and journalism-outcome based rather than profit or dissemination-based.
Nevertheless, during the last decade, it has become more common for journalism schools to partner with media organizations to produce content. At Arizona State University in the United States, the Arizona Republic maintains a working newsroom within the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This newsroom handles most of the web-based breaking news for the newspaper. At the University of Oklahoma, students at the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication produce a weekly 30-minute sports program for a regional American sports network, Fox Sports Southwest. With industry resources becoming scarce, more of these types of content contribution partnerships are likely to emerge.
What is also important in assessing the future of university-provided journalism education is the notion of higher education having a degree of autonomy from the media. As Bollinger (2002/2003) has written, “A great journalism school needs to have some distance between itself and the industry which it serves.” This is a critical factor since industry itself, in some aspects, has become a self interested, rival supplier of journalism education, and one that is often instrumentalized for short term needs rather than having a longer term, broader capacity-building rationale. The very externality of university based programs from industry could be a strength that not just stimulates independent minded journalism education, but also allows for necessary criticism when media institutions miss opportunities, suffer ideological myopia, or exhibit ethical lapses. Such externality is also a relevant factor when, as with the U.S. print media, jobs are scarce, and it becomes journalism schools’ onus to empower would-be journalists to start their own media enterprises.
But university-based journalism education can also be manipulated to promote protectionist industry tendencies. For example, in Kenya the media industry and leading journalism schools have experienced a move toward creating a “closed shop” through steps toward licensing the institutions that would be permitted to offer journalism education (Berger, 2009). Similarly, the Tanzanian government also considered licensing which individuals could work as journalism teachers, although this move did not ultimately materialize (Berger, 2009). Such cartel-minded measures ignore the reality of global providers beyond national jurisdictions, and they could only be effective if citizens were banned from using journalism-related international learning resources. They also contradict the notion of journalism as a specialized exercise under the broader right of free speech. As Hartley (2008) argues, journalism should be taught primarily as a human right rather than merely a means toward an institutional career. When governments license which institutions can teach journalism, with the stated motive of upholding standards, they actually create “closed clubs” based on self serving models of journalism and who may teach them. This is close to the situation in Rwanda in the recent past, where at one point only individuals with government-approved qualifications were allowed to practice journalism.
In contrast to such controls, genuine university training in journalism is not only a practice within the rubric of academic freedom. It should also (and often does) operate to promote freedom of expression
rights and access to journalistic skills and platforms to gain such rights.
Another journalism education-related freedom is the freedom to use education provided. Journalism skill sets are easily transferable to other fields. In some cases, students study journalism with no intention of entering the profession. Instead they learn high-level information and communication skills to further their liberal arts studies or to pursue a related profession. It is not unusual to find journalism graduates contributing unique journalistic values to careers in law, public service, marketing, and other information sectors. Only totalitarian-leaning practices would seek to bind journalism graduates to working in media industries, although this is a complex issue when public resources are used to subsidize young people’s education. Freedom to practice journalism should be matched by the freedom to not practice it, even if the general goal remains that journalism education should contribute to journalism.
An additional issue that merits discussion is that of the ultimate goal of journalism education: Regardless of its provider, journalism education needs to empower not only students, but ultimately journalism itself. In other words, quality journalism education is supposed to have an impact on the quality of citizenship and society. Similarly, journalism education can promote what UNESCO calls media and information literacy (UNESCO, 2014), by building capacity for journalistic participation among non-media professionals, such as with community media volunteers and social media users.
Programs with such goals have become important factors in journalism education in a number of countries. For instance, South Africa’s Rhodes University, with Knight Foundation support, has provided (via established higher education routes) courses in citizen journalism to local residents who, for various reasons, would make journalistic contributions without becoming part-time or full time journalists (thenewsiscoming.ru.ac.za). Around the world, many universities now require a media literacy course for all students. Such courses are seen as a way to help students become better media consumers, and, in some cases, to help them practice citizen journalism and to promote democratic change. In the West, where journalism enrollments are starting to decline, serving a broader university community via courses such as media literacy can also provide a valuable expansion of traditional
missions and combine strengths of both journalism schools and their media studies or communications counterparts within the university.
This chapter attempts to sensitize readers to the changing landscape of journalism education and its relationship to the production of journalism. It also serves to raise citizens’ ability to generate journalism and to understand it. It casts no judgment on whether one kind of education is better than another. Instead, it acknowledges a wide range of knowledge and skill-development systems in operation, all of which can help journalists provide a better service to society. This broad approach calls to mind Deng Xiaoping’s famous aphorism that a cat’s color is not as important as whether it can catch mice.
The business model of journalism education influences, and is influenced by, all the above. Most legacy providers (i.e., university-based schools) have not been giving away their services free of charge. In fact, students and their parents are paying ever-increasing tuition fees, and journalism education enrollments continue to grow in most parts of the world. University providers and others able to cross borders through online space are also experiencing remarkable growth. Yet the unquestioned success of journalism education also exposes its vulnerability.
Because many university programs, especially in developing countries, have more students than they can handle, there has been little incentive to maximize strengths—to update and innovate—even when facing competition.
At the same time, some educators have been constructing content that possesses nearly universal utility or at least holds such value while also being amenable to being adapted to local languages and conditions. As more content is released online for free or at attractive prices, pressure could push traditional academic providers to adjust their delivery systems and/or their fee structures. Most journalism education programs have robust co-curricular opportunities that would be difficult to replicate without students being in residence. Yet, some aspects could easily be delivered in alternative ways by alternative providers.
One response to this challenge, which also reflects academia’s interest in expanding student horizons beyond national contexts, has been the “pairing up” of elite journalism schools across borders. A key
example is the Erasmus Mundus master’s degree, which is earned in different European countries (www.MundusJournalism.com). More recently, a partnership has been formed between the journalism schools at Columbia University and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. In addition, Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism has an offshoot program in Qatar, and Australian universities with communications programs, such as Monash University, have similar initiatives abroad. All parties can gain value from such connections. Such initiatives could be analyzed as defensive or expansionist maneuvers, indicating a kind of fortress mentality among strong
programs aiming to establish a closed eco-system of bastions elsewhere.
But they also have great potential to engage in open, porous interactions within a global market, enriching and transforming the “mother ship” and becoming more internationalized along the way. One area that journalism schools have yet to adequately address is the separation between content creation and content delivery. Universities have seamlessly combined the two for centuries. The same
autonomous professor who creates content for a course also delivers it. Little distinction has been made between the two functions. Any challenge to this premise would shake academia’s cultural foundation.
However, for-profit universities and training institutions are increasingly discovering the profound distinction between the two and are realizing the great value of doing so.
For example, by investing sizable sums in creating content, for-profits can produce inherently valuable courses and modules that can then be delivered by lesser-skilled teachers/trainers at a lower cost. This process can, at least in theory, translate into higher-quality products and wider distribution at lower costs. By investing in high-quality content—with multifaceted areas of output— organizations can leverage their expertise far and wide. After an initial investment, institutions can repeatedly deploy a course at a limited expense. An additional plus is an ongoing ability to control quality. Some universities are realizing that they cannot match the quality of content being offered by NGOs or commercial providers in specific subject areas, especially in sub-specialties (such as multimedia or climate change reporting) that may not be economically feasible to deliver even if they could create the content. If an NGO or industry provider is doing an excellent job providing learning resources in these or other subjects, there is little reason for a school to duplicate these efforts.
Partnerships with a distributed model can provide a rich and coherent journalism education service.
Universities are entering a time when hybrid solutions are demanded. They can certainly no longer operate under the assumption that they are the kings of all journalism education content and practice. Yet, there is no need for them to step aside from the majority of their domain. Instead, schools should gravitate toward areas in which they can provide high-quality content, processes, and relationships for
themselves and for distribution worldwide. They should also be more open to using content originating from training organizations, educational content creators, and peer institutions. Although universities may continue to deliver most of the pedagogical process themselves, they will not necessarily create all content themselves. University journalism schools should recognize and credit excellent work completed outside the academy. They could even assist such work by offering their own expertise in areas such as pedagogy, curriculum development, research resources, and linkages.
Through such relationships , journalism schools can also improve in areas they may be lagging.
For example, journalism education can partner with industry to learn how to better deliver, monitor, and evaluate long-distance training. Beneficiaries would be multiple learners of journalism, which would provide a wider value to society. The situation in journalism education today mirrors the situation that individual media consumers face with increasing amounts of content choices. Such consumers also have increasing opportunities to produce their own content, which often involves self-education on an individual or shared social basis. This type of self-education becomes one of many options for students. This chapter is based on the premise that journalism education is primarily about journalism, not the institutions through which much of its educational practice has been historically based. The objective of journalism education should not be to focus exclusive attention on journalism courses for students within mass media courses, as has often historically been the case. A wider vision is needed of empowerment of all people who want to do journalism. This indeed means providing campus-based students with the skills of journalism, although not in isolation of other knowledge bases relevant to the practice of journalism. It also means, however, that journalism education ought not to ignore the needs of off-campus learners and the learning resources availed by off-campus providers. From a journalism-centric viewpoint, journalism education should be based on a wide range of journalism education activities and content, conceptual and practical, serving a range of actors on and off campus, and coming from many diverse quarters and channels. The result can be a richer production and consumption of journalism. And reinforcing this scenario is the reality of increased complexity in the practice of journalism (such as subject knowledge, data analysis, verification standards, etc.) and the knowledge that traditional journalism educators alone can no longer provide all the journalism education/training needed.
In conclusion, journalism education should be seen as a means to an end, not an end in itself. And the landscape of journalism education providers should be viewed as a subsidiary matter in relation to this
bigger picture. The broader global context and community increasingly calls for every person interested in the future of journalism to pay attention. This is particularly relevant when one considers how the complex, multiplayer whole affects the diverse individual parts—especially when it comes to university-based journalism education.
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